The idea for this blog post came after receiving an email from Martin Blum at MIND.WORK, who very kindly sent us and donated, a time-lapse and photo-documentation of 2 artworks undergoing individually contrary changes.
Upon opening the email, and viewing the material we had received, I began ruminating on the matter of perspective, and so wanted to share the mumbo-jumbo thought processes; frequently plaguing my mind, in a slightly more structured fashion, around this subject. That's what this blog is, in some respect, used for. To share the ramblings in the hopes that there are those who find a point of commonality, creating interesting and meaningful dialogue. In this instance, getting those reading this to question their perspective of perception, and the acknowledgement that we create our own realities from experiences, influenced by perception. A useful anecdote for this matter is; you see someone with a thumbs up, the majority of us would assume it's a positive gesture. However, if the scene detailed before, plays out in parts of the Middle East and West Africa, you would be made the fool, as the thumbs up gesture is comparable to the middle finger in Western society. A single, easily overlooked piece of information changes the context of a simple gesture, and hence the reality with which you proceed in the situation.
Various forms of perspective can influence how we experience a piece of art. There is the physical stance from which perspective is gained, linked with the the physical location of where, how, and increasingly with what, we are viewing the artwork. This sense of perspective allows for the creation and processing of 3D pieces, visual illusions, and technology to augment the experience. Furthermore, street art is fairly unique considering the extent to which it can play with the setting around a piece to influence it's perception. The non-physical stance of perspective is related more closely to ones mindset, and the existing information held by the viewer, when observing a piece. This has a significant effect on how the artwork is perceived, only amplified when the artist leaves much of the decoding to the imagination of the observer.
“There are things known and there are things unknown, and in between are the doors of perception.” ― Aldous Huxley
So why does perspective hold such a dominant position in street art? My theory stands on a three legged stool. Firstly, it holds more outspoken roots. Secondly, higher engagement in varying international communities and cultures. A differing aspect, in some cases, from traditional art forms by exposing their pieces to the possible contrarian perspectives of the communities in which they are produced. As opposed to recreating the piece, after significant time has passed, based on the memory of the reality the artist created, as well as the emotions felt, whilst in that environment. This is not to demean traditional art or artists, as they are still working from the realities that they constructed. Just as every human does daily. We operate off of our individual realities to help us make judgements in aspects of our lives. Finally, there is the previously mentioned ability to finesse their environment.
Can street art be considered a brain child of perspective? Since it's earliest days, it's uses have encapsulated and subsequently broadcasted the perceived differences in perspective existing in society. Each additional perspective adds insight into the thoughts and feelings of a different group or individual of society. Having the means, and being exposed to as many varying perspectives possible provides each onlooker with a greater ability to be compassionate, and the means of being understanding. It would be as though each artwork viewed, and hence perspective gained, is a mile walked in the artists shoes.
Perception is subjective
All credits go to Martin Blum for the photos and I highly recommend watching the short time-lapse made of the Naegeli piece under the bridge (1st link), as well as reading about the transformations of both pieces in more detail.
Links to supporting material: